Monday Night Raw – September 18, 2017: The Slow Lane

Monday Night Raw
Date: September 18, 2017
Location: SAP Center, San Jose, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T.

It’s the go home show for No Mercy and that means we should be in for a hard push towards Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman. I say should be because it’s not entirely clear if that’s going to be the case or not due to Lesnar’s limited appearances. What we will be having though is Alexa Bliss facing Nia Jax for the first time ever. Let’s get to it.

In Memory of Bobby Heenan. If there’s not a long video package on him tonight, be patient. WWE has a tendency to like to wait until they have the time to set these up.

Here’s Kurt Angle to open things up. He talks about Sunday’s two big matches but gets cut off by Miz and the Miztourage. Angle congratulates him on his upcoming fatherhood but Miz cuts him off to say he doesn’t want to hear it. This is the second straight pay per view where the Intercontinental Title won’t be on the line. Not so fast though as Angle has a fatal four way planned for tonight to crown a new #1 contender.

Tonight it’s Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Jason Jordan and Elias facing off to get a shot on Sunday. Miz rolls his eyes about Jordan being in the title picture and says it’s only because he’s Angle’s son. They get in an argument about who is the better father but here’s Jordan to interrupt. Jordan wants his shot but Miz insults Angle, triggering a brawl. Jason fights off the Miztourage without too much effort and the Angles/Jordans/whatever you call them stand tall.

Post break Jordan is frustrated but Angle gives him a pep talk, basically saying it’s ok to not fight back every time someone brings him up. If Jordan wants to get back at Miz, go take his Intercontinental Title.

Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax

Non-title. Alexa bails to the floor to start before completely failing at a waistlock. Nia chokes her a bit and Bliss goes up the ramp, only to be cut off by Sasha Banks. Jax runs Bliss over again and we take a break. Back with Nia going shoulder first into the post and a dropkick staggering her again. Bliss’ high crossbody gets countered into a Samoan drop for the pin at 6:39. Not enough to rate but this was a squash. I’m not wild on a champion being pinned clean but it fights the story perfectly in this case and is a lot more acceptable.

Sasha comes in and gets tossed down as well. Cue the returning Bayley (hometown girl) to help Sasha and Alexa clear Jax to the floor. Bliss celebrates with them and gets beaten down as well. Sasha and Bayley celebrate a bit.

The announcers plug the Network with the easiest sales pitch they can have: sign up for free for thirty days and you get two free pay per views. That really has seemed to be the big solution to so many of their problems.

Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas are now in the #1 contenders match.

We see some Tweets from wrestlers about Bobby Heenan’s passing.

Long video on Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman, featuring video from Brock Lesnar from 2002 talking about how dominant Lesnar truly is. This turns into a video on Lesnar’s current run with Heyman talking about how no one can conquer him. Then it’s clips of Strowman manhandling Lesnar at Summerslam and laying him out multiple times. This turns into a more traditional look at the match with Heyman talking about how Lesnar isn’t used to facing someone bigger or stronger than he is. The question comes down to whether or not Strowman is bad enough to take down the baddest man in the world.

Here are Sheamus and Cesaro for a chat before a match. Sheamus talks about the love of nostalgia and thinks it’s kind of boring. You have the people wrapping themselves up in the blanket of the Hardys and pretending it’s the good old days. They destroy nostalgia acts and you can ask the Hardys for proof of those things. Cesaro says nostalgia will fade soon enough, just like the nostalgia for this reunion between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. They’ll be there to take the Tag Team Titles when the team falls apart because they are the bar.

Cue Ambrose and Rollins to call Cesaro and Sheamus a cross between Braveheart and Taxi Driver. Ambrose says they’re brothers and sometimes brothers fight, but they would never let a brother leave the house dressed like that. Now it’s Anderson and Gallows to say they’re the good brothers. They call the champs nerds and that’s a bit too much for Ambrose. No one calls him a nerd and the brawl is on. Ambrose and Rollins clean house without too much effort.

Asuka is coming.

Seth Rollins/Dean Ambrose vs. Cesaro/Sheamus vs. Anderson and Gallows

Non-title and one fall to a finish. Sheamus and Gallows slug it out for a good while before Seth springboards in with a clothesline. Ambrose and Rollins double team Sheamus until Sheamus runs Rollins over. It’s off to Cesaro, who swings Ambrose into the barricade to take over.

Gallows drops a series of elbows until Ambrose rolls away, allowing the hot tag to Rollins. Everything breaks down and Seth’s sunset powerbomb gets two. Ambrose breaks up a double powerbomb on Rollins and the Magic Killer gets two on Seth with Dean making another save. Back from a break with Cesaro knocking Rollins off the apron and into the barricade. We hit the chinlock for a bit before a 3D of all things gets two.

Back up and Seth sends Sheamus into the post, followed by a tornado DDT on Cesaro. The hot tag brings in Ambrose for a superplex on Anderson, followed by the top rope elbow. Ambrose and Rollins hit back to back suicide dies and everyone is down. Sheamus makes a blind tag right before Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds on Anderson. That’s enough for Sheamus to slide in and steal the pin at 18:47.

Rating: B-. Good match but the usual problems abound. These matches just keep going because there’s no one else for the teams to face and there’s no reason for them to continue otherwise. Couple that with I’m supposed to be interested in seeing them fight again just six days after they fought here. Not that it matters as they’ll likely be fighting again the next month because they don’t have anyone else to slide into the spots. Give us something fresh, even if it’s for a month or so.

Miz gives Miztourage a pep talk but they’re not thrilled. Dallas cites his history of giving motivational speeches and Axel talks about his family’s history with the Intercontinental Title. Miz doesn’t seem thrilled but wishes them luck.

Video on….the first Money in the Bank match at Wrestlemania XXI. Uh, sure?

Video on Roman Reigns vs. John Cena, focusing on how they were both prospects and rose up the ranks in a hurry. Cena was the guy and now Reigns wants to be the guy. Reigns doesn’t like Cena being a part timer who gets all the credit for what Reigns does while Cena basically says Reigns can’t fill his boots.

Goldust is in Angle’s office without face paint. He wants one more shot with Bray Wyatt and he’s asking as Dustin Rhodes. Angle gives in and grants the match.

Curt Hawkins is in the ring to say the Star Factory is closed. Instead it’s the Curt Hawkins History Machine and tonight, his losing streak comes to an end.

Curt Hawkins vs. Apollo Crews

How sad is it that I knew it was going to be Crews because I knew this was the kind of spot he would be in? Hawkins takes him down and grabs a chinlock, followed by a rollup with trunks for two. The enziguri into the toss powerbomb ends Hawkins at 2:19. That’s 116 losses in a row for Hawkins.

Lesnar and Strowman have a sitdown interview (in different places). Heyman doesn’t think much of Lesnar being the underdog because that was the case when he conquered the Streak. Strowman is confident because he’s destroyed people before and will do so again. Heyman talks about Lesnar not being able to train for Strowman because there’s no one like him.

Last week Strowman popped up from a German suplex so this Sunday, Lesnar will just have to take him to Suplex City all night long. Strowman doesn’t care because he’s in charge no matter what. Heyman goes into his usual speech about Lesnar’s accomplishments but Lesnar cuts him off. He thanks Strowman for challenging him because that’s when he’s at his best. He’ll see Strowman on Sunday in Suplex City.

Notice the difference between this and Reigns vs. Cena. Strowman has gotten one up on Lesnar and Brock seems like he has to go up a level on this one. It makes you wonder if Strowman’s dominance will hold up or if Lesnar has that extra gear in him. That’s an interesting story.

On the other hand you have Cena shutting Reigns down every time. Cena is the bigger star in the fans’ eyes and hasn’t seemed to break a sweat in this whole build. Reigns is completely overmatched by Cena on the mic but they’ve stuck him out there anyway. That’s a very key difference and a rather dumb one at that.

Strowman can hang with Lesnar in the power/physical department so they’ve focused on that instead. Notice how short Strowman’s statements were here. They didn’t have time to expose his weaknesses and the actions from last week (popping up from the suplex and laying out Lesnar) spoke for themselves. Reigns and Cena haven’t gotten physical for the most part and that doesn’t make sense. Reigns is capable of keeping up with Cena in the heavyweight slugfest but they’ve focused on Reigns’ talking and charisma, where not only is he not great in the first place but he’s completely outclassed by Cena.

It’s a completely different way of presenting the feuds and one of them is working a lot better than the others because it’s been crafted to the participants’ strengths and weaknesses.

Bayley has been added to the four way on Sunday, which is now a fatal five way.

Here’s Roman Reigns for a chat as this show is allergic to actual wrestling. Reigns gets booed but he thinks this should get booed anyway. Some people think Cena is the best talker of all time but sometimes he says some stupid s***. People have been talking about Reigns being the next Cena but he’s not a white guy with a military crew cut. If he was, he wouldn’t have a job here. If you don’t believe that, just ask Alex Riley.

Reigns calls Cena a fake guy and shows us a clip from five years ago with Cena talking about Rock being a part timer who keeps bailing to Hollywood. Reigns asks if Cena should come out here and brings up the loss to Rock at Wrestlemania. Roman will see San Jose next time and says he’ll see Cena on Sunday, movie star. This was FAR better from Reigns as he actually made a point and told a story (Reigns is the guy that Cena claimed to be and actually backs it up by being here) while also not having Cena (a far better talker than Reigns could ever hope to be) cutting him down every few seconds.

The Hardys talk about fighting each other for years so tonight isn’t the biggest change in the world. Some mild tension is teased but they’re cool with each other.

Asuka is coming.

Bray Wyatt vs. Dustin Rhodes

Dustin cleans house to start and hammers away in the corner before taking him outside for some whips into various objects. A bulldog on the floor has Bray in more trouble but he headbutts his way out of trouble. Back in and Goldust kicks at the leg, only to charge into Sister Abigail for the pin at 2:36. Bray barely had any offense.

Finn Balor pops up on screen and talks about growing up reading stories. Finn grew up to become a man who created a Demon, just like the ones he grew up reading about. If the Demon is the creation of a man, how dangerous does that make the man? Bray is going to find out at No Mercy.

More Tweets on Heenan.

The announcers talk about Heenan’s greatness and legacy.

We get the big tribute to Heenan, including material all the way back from his AWA days. Thankfully we get a long sequence on his stuff with Gorilla Monsoon from Prime Time Wrestling, which is still some of the funniest stuff you’ll ever see. His timing was absolutely perfect and some of those jokes were WAY too funny to be on a wrestling show.

Here’s Enzo Amore to talk about the upcoming Cruiserweight Title match but Strowman comes out to maul him. A chokeslam and the powerslam crush Enzo and make Strowman all the more popular. Strowman leaves and here’s Neville to add the Red Arrow for good measure. Neville: “HOW YOU DOIN?????”

Post break Enzo says he can compete with Neville on Sunday and is taking that title.

Neville vs. Gran Metalik

Cole: “Corey do you think Enzo has a chance on Sunday?” Graves: “Nope.” Metalik gets in a dropkick to start and walks the ropes for a second one. They head outside with Neville getting in a kick to the chest and RIPPING THE MASK apart, with Metalik’s face being exposed for a few seconds. Back in and Metalik kicks him in the face, followed by another springboard dropkick. A running springboard flip dive takes Neville down and a rope walk splash (not a crossbody Cole) gets two. Metalik’s moonsault hits knees though and the Rings of Saturn is good for the submission at 3:24.

Rating: C+. This worked quite well with Neville showing some viciousness but the Enzo match is like Shelton Benjamin diving into Shawn Michaels’ superkick. If he really is the best thing they can do for the division, then just get rid of the thing already. Enzo is getting more annoying by the week (if that’s possible) and I’m really not looking forward to hearing him brag about being champion for the next eight months.

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month so here’s a video on Jennifer Lopez.

Here’s Elias to sing his song about how horrible his opponents are, just like everyone here in San Jose.

Elias vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy vs. Bo Dallas vs. Curtis Axel vs. Jason Jordan

One fall to a finish with Miz watching on the floor. It’s a brawl to start with Jeff rolling Matt up for two to send us to an early break. Back with Elias in control until Jordan gets in a right hand. That’s fine with Elias who jumps from the mat to the top, only to have the Miztourage shove him off. The Hardys come in for a Tower of Doom, drawing Elias back in to try and steal the pins.

Poetry in Motion hits Elias but Jeff walks into a Side Effect for two. Jordan starts cleaning house until Dallas sends him outside. Miz tosses Jordan over the barricade as the Hardys start working over Elias inside. Jeff’s legdrop between the legs sets up the Swanon for two on Axel with Miz making the save. The distraction lets the Axhole plant Jeff, only to have Jordan come in with the wheelbarrow neckbreaker for the pin and the title shot at 11:46.

Rating: C. Total chaos for the most part here but it’s amazing to see how much easier it is to sit through Jordan’s super push than Reigns’ was. It’s almost like giving him time to grow into his singles role instead of just throwing him into the World Title picture is a really good idea. Jordan’s matches have been good so far and it’s reasonable to see him winning the Intercontinental Title. Do that instead of pushing him to the moon and it might actually work.

Miz and the Miztourage destroy Jordan and call him out for his, shall we say, questionable parentage to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. This show was kind of all over the place but they made do with what they could considering the lack of a live Lesnar or Cena in general. They did a good enough job at hyping up No Mercy, which is the entire point of this show. However, the wrestling wasn’t exactly strong and that makes for a dull show. The first hour and a half was really weak but it picked up the pace a lot down the stretch, which was what mattered most. Not a terrible show, but it was dull for some long stretches.

Results

Nia Jax b. Alexa Bliss – Samoan drop

Cesaro/Sheamus b. Anderson and Gallows and Seth Rollins/Dean Ambrose – Dirty Deeds to Anderson

Apollo Crews b. Curt Hawkins – Toss powerbomb

Bray Wyatt b. Dustin Rhodes – Sister Abigail

Jason Jordan b. Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy and Elias – Wheelbarrow neckbreaker to Axel

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1 comment

  1. Jay H (the real one) says:

    I agree about Enzo as I am getting a little weary of him now. Since the break up with Cass and some of the backstage stuff it’s been a slow decline.

    A couple of good things though like the video packages for No Mercy, the split screen interview with Brock & Braun, and Bayley coming back.